Rosenberg returns from East Asia tour

By Daniel Kerwin

President Rosenberg has just returned from what truly was a whirlwind tour of East Asia.A Macalester delegation led by President Rosenberg visited four East Asian cities from Jan. 17 to Jan. 31, the first time the college has sent a delegation to the region since former President Mike Macpherson was there in 2002.

The tour kicked off in Tokyo, followed by Hong Kong, Singapore and Seoul. Director of Principal Gifts Rebecca Schubring accompanied Rosenberg for the trip’s duration, and Vice President for Advancement Tommy Bonner and Rosenberg’s wife Dr. Carol Rosenberg participated in the Tokyo and Hong Kong legs of the trip.

The trip had three main purposes: for the college to engage the alumni and parents living in the four cities, for Rosenberg to visit high schools from which Macalester recruits students and to analyze Macalester’s fundraising prospects in the region.

“You can send out magazines and you can send out e-mails, but there’s a real difference between doing that and at least from time to time having the college have a physical personal presence,” Rosenberg said. “So much of what we do depends on having alumni engaged that we felt it was important to do that.”

In each city there was a main evening gathering event, and the rest of the time Rosenberg spent visiting the high schools and meeting individually with certain parents and alumni. The Tokyo event yielded the highest turnout with approximately 70 people in attendance, with a combined total of around 150 for all the events. There were a lot of young alumni at the events, with graduates ranging from the 1960s to people who graduated as recently as last year.

“I think it really exceeded my expectations in terms of the enthusiasm for Macalester that I saw in the people I met, it was really very energizing, it was great to see,” Rosenberg said. “It’s also great to see how successful in all those cities Macalester alumni are, especially young alumni, it makes you feel good about the work the college is doing.”

The trip had been planned for this past summer, but a combination of scheduling difficulties and the uncertainty in the economy forced the trip to be delayed. The public phase of the current capital campaign is just passing its midpoint, though the trip wasn’t explicitly a part of the campaign.

“A lot of what we tried to do with this trip is build for future, that is identify what gift prospects we have over in these cities, who the people are who have both the capacity and the inclination to make a gift for the college and begin to develop relationships with them,” Rosenberg said. “It does take time, it doesn’t necessarily pay off in the near term or in this campaign.”

Rosenberg visited a total of three schools on the trip: The American School in Japan, Singapore American School, and United World College of South East Asia, also in Singapore. He was slated to visit a school in Seoul as well, but the visit did not happen after a scheduling mix-up.

“It’s always useful to not only meet with students but meet with the counselors in those schools and give them a sense of Macalester so when it comes time for the m to recommend a school to students they’ll think about us,” Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg has made a number of other international visits as president, but this was his first to Asia. He has been to London numerous times, the city with Macalester’s largest overseas alumni population, and has also made trips to places such as Cyprus, Istanbul and Iceland.

With alumni spread out all over the globe, it is a big task trying to stay intimately connected with them all, and Rosenberg hopes that the college is able to maintain the enthusiasm generated by this most recent trip.

“At this point now the big thing for us will be how we follow up on this,” Rosenberg said. “I think after having generated a lot of enthusiasm we have to figure out ways to build on it.